The college classes of 2016 and beyond were born into a high-tech world. While it may seem as if today’s students are only interested in watching YouTube videos and socializing on Facebook, technology can play a positive role in the classroom. As an educator, you know that while students may become distracted and even obsessed with all the technology in their lives, they can also gain great learning experiences from it as well.
The usefulness of education technology goes beyond the K-12 classroom, as the infographic "Time of your life: the journey of the class of 2016" at WorldWideLearn.com shows, 60 percent of college students prefer digital textbooks. While technology seems to be both a blessing and a curse for today’s students, the high-tech tools college students were exposed to in K-12 should teach them to channel their tech sophistication through graduation and beyond. K-12 educators have the responsibility to send students to college who know how to use technology for education and not just for fun, and many educators are rising to the challenge.
With SMART boards, WebQuests, adaptive learning, mobile learning and more, Missouri educators, such as those in the Lee's Summit R-7 and Center school districts, are embracing educational technology as an important way to educate students who become more tech savvy with each passing year.
As more technology becomes available, more than 66,000 teachers in the more than 2,000 Missouri schools will have more opportunities to engage technologically sophisticated students. For example, high-tech Geographic Information Systems (GIS) mapping software was made available for free to approximately 918,000 Missouri K-12 students at the beginning of the 2012-2013 school year.
"Students and teachers will be able to create their own research projects on topics as diverse as regional nutrition, political divisions, environmental change, agriculture and urban planning,” according to MU geographer Shannon White. “Instead of just reading a book about these topics students will be able to explore them and create their own maps using GIS. Since the system is constantly updated, it won't go out of date like a textbook."
Educators across the country are devising innovative ways to incorporate technology in the classroom as well. A high school math teacher in Miami-Dade records his lessons and uploads them to YouTube for his students to view. If you’re feeling technophobic or you’re not sure where to begin, TeachHub.com has several ideas for incorporating tech into the classroom. Suggestions include making a class webpage, creating “game shows” with Power Point for material review and instituting an email exchange. The key to successful education tech in the classroom is choosing activities that appeal to students.
This is a guest post from Kristin Marino, who writes about education topics and received a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Nevada.